Elsevier changes: Rationale for cancellations

Renewing the subscription to the bundle of 1,846 Elsevier journals, called the “big deal” package, would have come with a price tag of $2 million, a continuation of the serials price inflation that has been rapidly outpacing budget increases and forcing the Libraries to chip away at allocations for important resources like books and databases.

10 year growth of serials as a portion of library budget

The move freed the Libraries from the cost increases to the big deal, and it also meant a large cut in the number of journal titles for the University. Stanley Wilder, Dean of LSU Libraries, formed a task force to explore potential consequences, anticipate future actions for the Libraries, and prepare to mitigate problems resulting from a large scale cancellation.

LSU Libraries is not alone. In recent years, rising costs of journal subscriptions have motivated dozens of U.S. university libraries and numerous European scholarly societies and universities to cancel subscriptions to “big deal” journal packages, the name for bundles of journals large publishers offer to libraries at discounted prices compared to the individual costs for each journal.  The University of California System, Florida State University, and Temple University have already canceled or announced plans to cancel their big deals with Elsevier, the biggest and most expensive of the journal publishers. Libraries across the country have also canceled big deals with Springer, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and others.